The View From Opoutere

Maungaruawahine Slip Planting

In early March torrential rain caused a significant slip on the side of Maungaruawahine. A large portion of the summit track was destroyed, houses on Ngahere Terrace were inundated with mud and rocks and a vast open slip face was left behind. This area is vulnerable to weed-strike but ORRA member Gordon Ikin has devised a planting plan to revegetate this area. The goal is to reduce the chance of ginger, pampas, elaeagnus or ink weed getting established. Gordon sourced funding and plants, coordinated with engineers and council representatives and expertly supervised the planting day – we are grateful for his time and energy!

Queen’s Birthday weekend saw a cheerful gang carting young native plants up the summit track to take part in stage one of Gordon’s plan. Young and old scrambled up the challenging terrain (special thanks to Jocelyn Nicholson who did several slippery treks up the hill with seedlings) and after two hours of digging and planting the hillside was transformed. Next time you pass the slip site look uphill and admire the sea of bamboo canes that mark out each plant.

ORRA would like to formally acknowledge the support of Waikato Regional Council, Thames Coromandel District Council and the Honda Tree Fund. Thanks also to Mark Blazey who put together our colonial-style group shot!

Queen’s Birthday Weekend Working Bee

A working bee is to be undertaken in the bush on Maugaruawahine to replant some of the area damaged in the slip a couple of months ago.

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Funding for this planting has been from the Honda Tree Fund utilising plants purchased through the Waikato Regional Council Plant Supply Programme, with additional plants kindly supplied by TCDC.

This planting coincides perfectly with Arbor Day which is on Monday 5 June.
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Date: Saturday 3 June (Queens Birthday Weekend)

Time: 1-3pm

Location: Maungaruawahine (adjacent to the recent large slip). Access via track to summit. Please carry some plants up the hill with you as you head up the track, if plants are still awaiting transporting.

Aim: To begin the task of re-vegetating the slip face with pioneer native species which will in time stabilise this area, and thus hopefully prevent further slips and erosion. In addition getting native plants re-established will hopefully lessen the chance of a large-scale noxious weed infestation occurring here.

Meet: On face of slip, where track to summit transects slip.

Work site conditions: Fairly steep and slippery in parts especially if wet.

Bring the following equipment: Solid enclosed footwear with decent tread, protective gloves, parka (if rain threatening), spade, secateurs, water bottle, and lots of the usual Opoutere enthusiasm!

Any queries, please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Gordon Ikin

021-444-525

gordon@ikin.nz

Duck shooting season starts May 6

At sunrise on Saturday May 6 the 2017 duck shooting season gets underway. There are several areas on the Wharekawa harbour that are popular with hunters and their camouflaged maimais may not be visible to the casual observer. Please take care on the harbour, especially early in the mornings when there is a lot of hunting activity.

Please visit the Fish and Game website to view the regulations that apply to our area.p17123pc

SAVE THE OPOUTERE YHA!

Update and important opportunity to contribute before the YHA NZ board meeting on Saturday 6th May

Bianca Wildish

Auckland, New Zealand

Apr 30, 2017 — Due to the petition David and Bianca Wildish have been invited to present to the YHA board meeting on Saturday 6th May in Wellington. Bianca is currently completing her Masters degree the Netherlands so is unable to attend. David has accepted the invitation and will present to the Board om behalf of all who care about this Jewel in the Crown of the NZ YHA, so is requesting all your support for this event

He will be presenting the petition and all associated comments on www.change.org/p/youth-hostel-association-of-new-zealand-save-opoutere-yha-hostel that are made by Thursday evening NZ time. There are many issues regarding the failure of the board to consult with the members regarding this closure that must be addressed subsequent to the meeting, including; staff deliberately misleading the membership regarding the closure; no options presented to keep it operating, no figures or justification for closure disclosed and no actual consultation process being held with members.

If you have more you want to contribute or need more information please contact ussaveopoutereyha@gmail.com . If you would like to be part of the Opoutere Hostel Group and are a current YHA member please let us know now via the same email address, the more we have in the group the better.

Please keep sharing the petition with other members of the Opoutere community as we can easily get the numbers to 1000 and beyond by the end of this week. Please encourage people to state a Reason for Signing. There are many powerful and heartfelt comments there already and we would love to see more.

An email to the chairman of the board of YHA is another contribution you can make in these last few days before the meeting his address is national.chair@yha.co.nz copy the email you send to saveopoutereyha@gmail.com so we have a record. Just a line or 2 from everyone who has signed will further strengthen our case.

Also like or follow the Facebook page so that we can keep the information flowingwww.facebook.com/saveopoutereyha/

Every one of your individual voices and actions are important to save this unique Kiwi treasure. We all thank you for your growing support and don’t let up until we have a confirmed positive result.

Weather Alert fromTCDC

MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for the Waikato and Southern Coromandel, with up to 155mm of rain this evening through to tomorrow morning.
Large bursts up to 50mm per hour are expected, which can cause flooding in areas such as Tairua, Hikuai and Opoutere.

“The rain itself is much needed, but coupled with high tide means this can lead to isolation, due to potential flooding or road slips, for some communities,” says Garry Towler, Thames Valley Civil Defence Controller.

People travelling through low lying areas to work on Wednesday morning may encounter flooding and are cautioned to drive to the conditions and keep up-to-date with potential hazards in their area.

How to keep up-to-date with what is happening
For weather alerts and information on how to prepare for emergencies download the NZ Red Cross Hazard App.

The Red Cross Hazards app is available from:
App store for iOS devices
Google Play store for Android devices

Check our Council’s home page for news updates and alerts, follow our Facebook page and subscribe to our email newsletters and Twitter feed @OurCoromandel.

We will provide up-to-date information in the event of any emergency on all these channels.

If you don’t have a smartphone or other mobile device, or don’t use the internet, organise someone who does to call you and vice-versa. Think about elderly neighbours, family and friends who are perhaps on their own and may need support.

For State Highway roading updates, NZTA offer real time traffic and travel information emailed directly to you letting you know if there’s a significant hold up or need for caution on the State Highway you travel on. You can register your route here https://onthemove.govt.nz/

A Plea For Fire Safety

The recent devastating fire south of Whitianga has local fire chiefs pleading for extreme vigilance. The Coromandel region is tinder dry and resources are stretched dealing with the aftermath of the huge fire that tore through homes and bush – 21 hotspots remain and fire crews are still on site to prevent the fire restarting.

This means that our local fire fighters might not be immediately available and are already exhausted and stressed from their experience at the Whitianga fire. Chief of the Onemana Rural Fire Force Jo Adams described the speed and heat of the fire as “absolutely terrifying”.

Jo would like to stress to our community how extreme the current fire risk is: everything is very dry, the local crews are already committed to the Whitianga situation and most importantly attending fire crews cannot rely on water in domestic tanks being available to use in the fire appliances as many tanks are already running low. Even candles and gas bbqs pose a risk in this instance, please exercise great caution and keep an eye on any open flame.

If you see anything that concerns you don’t hesitate to call Jo Adams on 0274493034.

 

TOTAL FIRE BAN EXTENDED

From TCDC:

In the interests of public safety, and due to the ‘very dry’ conditions prevailing at this time with no significant rain forecast in the foreseeable future, the undersigned Rural Fire Authorities extend the ‘Total Fire Ban’ until further notice.

The Fire Ban covers all lands within the Thames-Coromandel & Hauraki District Council areas including Department of Conservation Lands and the Forest areas owned by Ernslaw One, Matariki Forests and CFG NZ Company Ltd.

The ‘Fire Ban’ includes land clearing fires, rubbish fires, beach fires, domestic fireworks, sky lanterns, braziers, open top non-type approved incinerators, traditional cooking and hangi fires.

The Fire Ban does not include gas fuelled cookers or gas fuelled BBQs in a public place or on private land providing weather conditions are favourable, they are operated by an adult and they are used in a safe considerate manner.

The Fire Ban does not include the following ‘open air fires’ on private land providing weather conditions are favourable, they are operated by an adult in a safe considerate manner and extinguished before being left unattended:

Pre-approved solid fuelled BBQ constructed of non-combustible materials, with a chimney and spark arrestor.
Pre-approved outside fire place constructed of non-combustible materials with chimney and spark arrestor.
Pre-approved pizza oven constructed of non-combustible materials with chimney and spark arrestor.
Within TCDC Urban areas compliant Open Fires and Pizza ovens that meet the requirements in schedule 1 of the TCDC Fires in the Open Bylaw.
Fire Authorities may consider fire permit applications for ‘cooking & hangi fires’ for Community and Cultural events on private land, however each application will be considered on its merits. For enquiries contact your local Council or Department of Conservation Office.

Special Note:

Pursuant to Section 43 of the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977 any person lighting a fire in the ‘open air’ is liable for all suppression costs should the fire escape. A fire permit does not indemnify the permit holder from any liability for costs or damages caused by the fire.

District Fire Officers wish to thank all residents and visitors to the area for their patience and understanding.

Check out our website http://www.tcdc.govt.nz/fire and follow us on Facebook for regular updates and further information.

 

Merry Christmas! Here’s the latest…

pohumain2Summer has arrived with the red blossom on the pohutukawas, dig out your togs, clean off the bbq and get ready for a terrific holiday season.

It’s peak season here on the Coromandel, please take care on the Opoutere roads during this busy time – take care around cyclists and pedestrians and watch your speed as you travel around the village.

Fire Ban

The total fire ban over the Coromandel district takes effect on December 20 2016.

The Total Fire Ban will be in effect over the summer or later, if conditions warrant.

Until then, the fire risk is still high so a permit will be required to light most fires in the open. If you see an out of control fire, call the New Zealand Fire Service on 111.

This means no charcoal bbqs, braziers, beach fires, fire pits – basically anything with an open flame, even fireworks (hello, you New Year’s Eve party animals!)

If you see an out of control fire you need to call the NZ Fire Service on 111.

Fire permits are not required for gas-fuelled barbeques, portable gas cookers/stoves, in a public place or on private land providing they are used in a safe, considerate manner and attended by an adult.

Be warned: the local Rural Volunteer Fire Force chief Jo Adams has a very keen nose and will sniff out your romantic beach bonfire – this will not end well for you!

 

Dotterel Watch

The dotterels have been taking great care of their nests and soon the dotterel chicks will be ready to fledge. Dogs and their humans are the biggest threat these little birds face, please stay away from the nesting areas at this important time of year. Just the sight of a dog at 100m distance will frighten a dotterel away from their nest. Research has shown that the birds are reasonably habituated to people but dogs absolutely terrify them.

The Thames Coromandel District Council has strict dog control bylaws that forbid – year round- dogs on the Wharekawa Spit. This is the southern area of Opoutere beach that contains the Wharekawa Wildlife Refuge, home to many threatened and endangered birds. (Check out our bird page for some excellent avian info). Refer to the map in the carpark which explains the dog control bylaws for Opoutere Beach.

It’s fun to take an hour or two to volunteer on Dotterel Watch, the roster will be on the bus shelter on Opoutere Road. You will be stationed on the estuary side of the spit during low tide to protect the dotterels as they feed. It’s a good chance to quietly observe the oystercatchers and dotterels as they show their chicks how to feed and you are doing your bit to protect the birds from disturbance and harassment.

Our local Department of Conservation Dotterel ranger is Frouk Miller, if you have any concerns you can contact her on fmiller@doc.govt.nz.

 

Opoutere Ratepayers & Residents Association AGM 2017

Come along to catch up on local and regional news.

When: Monday 2nd January, 9.30am

Where: Opoutere School Hall

 

The Opoutere Regatta

One of the holiday season’s social highlights, the annual Opoutere Regatta shouldn’t be missed.

Here are the details from the organisers:

Dear Opoutere residents/rate-payers and holiday makers,

The annual Opoutere Regatta is coming up again, so mark your calendars.

Plan is 4 January 2017 (with 5 January 2017 as our rain day).

We’ll kick off at 1pm, as we need to plan around the high tide.
First up is the famous bucket race for the 5 and unders.
Then it will be on to the various age and gender swimming and kayak races.
Finishing up with the famous carnage of the family kayak relay.

Jo Adams and the Onemana Fire Brigade will run their brilliant BBQ on the Reserve at 5pm. Its fundraising for their very worthy volunteer fire service. So turn up at 5pm with your rug and beverages, for their mussel fritters, burgers and snags.

Please feel free to send this email on to anyone you know who is staying down at Opoutere on the 4th. And start crossing your fingers for fine weather.

See you all there!

 

TSUNAMI CONCERNS

The recent earthquakes caused a tsunami alert to be issued for our area, low-lying properties were evacuated and everyone’s tsunami preparedness came under the spotlight. Many people simply jumped in their cars and bolted to high ground with only the gas in their car tank and the pjs on their backs. This summer take the time to organise a survival kit for your property and a “go-bag” that you can quickly grab if you need  to evacuate.

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WhitiangaTsunami Information Open Day

Coastal and tsunami scientists working on this project will be at the Open Day to meet with the public to talk about the latest research into the possible threat of tsunami to the region. Emergency Management staff members will also on-hand to provide information on what to do if a tsunami hit.

Saturday 28 January 2017
Time: 9:30am to 3:30pm

Whitianga Town Hall
24 Monk Street, Whitianga 3510

Coromandel Communities Guide to Emergencies

When a natural disaster hits, you may need to take care of yourself for up to seven (7) days before help can arrive.

A Community Response Plan has been developed to ensure there are measures in place to help the community look after itself.

The plan is designed to:

Help you to understand the hazards that exist in your community,
Let you know what level of risk these hazards pose to your community,
Help you to know what you can do to prepareyourself, and those who depend on you, to survive through an emergency, and
Ensure you know the warning signals to evacuate, and where to evacuate.
You can find the plans for Onemana, Opoutere, Pauanui, Tairua and Whangamata on our website. Plans are in the process of being developed for other communities and will be added to the website as the mapping has been done. In the meantime see the tsunami hazard mapping Civil Defence Waikato has made available here.